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traderumor
04-24-2010, 09:24 AM
I've been asking this question with each crappy outing, both for starters and relievers. Is the starting pitching in a slump or has Bryan Price introduced some adjustments that have not had the desired effect or taken hold yet? I mean, come on, getting beat around by the Dodgers is one thing, but the Padres dropping a 10 spot? Homers to Tony Gwynn? Everyone not named Cordero or Rhodes has been generally ineffective (Leake would not impress anyone were it not for the pathetic outings night after night by everyone else. His WHIP is poor and he will pay).

Guys are nibbling, then throwing meatballs down the middle. Surely this isn't within Price's philosophy? Or is it? Welsh pointed it out in Arroyo last night, that he lacked his usual aggressivenes. He attributed it to not having it, but is there some communication that he is hearing in his ears that he heard all spring?

Food for thought. Price spoke of a minor adjustment that Harang needed to make to his mechanics that has him "back." Results? Regression.

Disclaimer: I am not "blaming" Bryan Price, just making observations and wondering if we might be witnessing short term pain for long-term gain, or just a slump?

Regardless, watching 2003-2004 esque pitching night after night is brutal.

mth123
04-24-2010, 12:17 PM
I think we're seeing a slow start brought on by poor preparation in Spring and exacerbated by falling confidence that a few poor outings will cause.

1 or 2 guys being bad is a slump. Everyone being worse than usual is something systemic IMO.

alexad
04-24-2010, 12:23 PM
What ever it is, they need to get it fixed NOW. I am getting tired of watching a BAD TEAM..

Strikes Out Looking
04-24-2010, 12:49 PM
This is a good question. The pitchers past performance shows that they are not this bad--Harang and Arroyo do not have a career 6+ era.

Let me add some other thoughts:

Did spring training in Arizona have an effect on the pitchers?

Why are the Reds pitcher's consistently nibbling early in the count rather than throwing strikes?

Is their a GABP effect? Are they shell shocked by the fly balls that go out of this stadium which causes them to attempt to be to fine with their pitches. Don't forget that the Dodgers gave up alot of runs in the series against the Reds as well.

Something is missing and I'd sure like to know what it is.

TheNext44
04-24-2010, 12:54 PM
The problem is that it's early.

Arroyo has had one bad game, one really bad game. Bailey has had one bad start, two meh starts. Cueto has had three decent, but short starts, Leake has had three good starts, and Harang has been terrible.

So take out Harang and there really has only been two bad starts. The big problem is that there really hasn't been any great starts, which mentally and statistically makes everything seem worse.

If this continues, then it will be a long season. But do you really think that every Reds pitcher will pitch the entire season without a nice run of good to great games. I think all of them, including Harang are very capable of that this season.

Will they? :dunno:

Guacarock
04-24-2010, 01:36 PM
Did spring training in Arizona have an effect on the pitchers?

I don't think moving to Arizona, per se, had any impact whatsoever. But the way the Reds handled spring training might have had an effect. What do I mean? Simply.

At a point a week or two before the end of spring, when other teams had cut their squads down to the 25-man limit, the Reds were still carrying a dozen or so extra players. Not only that, but the Reds were regularly inserting High A and AA players into games right up until the bitter end.

I do believe the delayed streamlining of the squad could contribute to a lack of preparation. Instead of getting into a groove and working themselves into "game mode," our players were still fretting whether they would make the cut-off, or having to share playing time with scrubs. The indecision, the lack of resolution cost us.

Maybe we needed to let the Wood-Leake duel play out until the 11th hour, but did we really need to witness the colossal slugout between Burke and Cairo? Nope, that's a slugout not destined to be etched into history. That's fortunate for us, as it suggests this blip will become a footnote, to be forgotten soon enough.

mth123
04-24-2010, 01:49 PM
I don't think moving to Arizona, per se, had any impact whatsoever. But the way the Reds handled spring training might have had an effect. What do I mean? Simply.

At a point a week or two before the end of spring, when other teams had cut their squads down to the 25-man limit, the Reds were still carrying a dozen or so extra players. Not only that, but the Reds were regularly inserting High A and AA players into games right up until the bitter end.

I do believe the delayed streamlining of the squad could contribute to a lack of preparation. Instead of getting into a groove and working themselves into "game mode," our players were still fretting whether they would make the cut-off, or having to share playing time with scrubs. The indecision, the lack of resolution cost us.

Maybe we needed to let the Wood-Leake duel play out until the 11th hour, but did we really need to witness the colossal slugout between Burke and Cairo? Nope, that's a slugout not destined to be etched into history. That's fortunate for us, as it suggests this blip will become a footnote, to be forgotten soon enough.

Agreed, This team did not leave Arizona ready to play. Pitchers making their first start of the season after only having gone as many as 5 innings in spring is a recipe for a slow start IMO.

Brutus
04-24-2010, 02:09 PM
FWIW, Game Score by Reds' start...

Harang vs. St. Louis (43)
Cueto vs. St. Louis (54)
Arroyo vs. St. Louis (73)
Bailey vs. Chicago (44)
Harang vs. Chicago (64)
Leake vs. Chicago (58)
Cueto vs. Florida (34)
Arroyo vs. Florida (42)
Bailey vs. Florida (29)
Harang vs. Florida (12)
Leake vs. Pittsburgh (46)
Cueto vs. Pittsburgh (45)
Arroyo vs. Pittsburgh (46)
Bailey vs. Los Angeles (34)
Harang vs. Los Angeles (23)
Leake vs. Los Angeles (45)
Arroyo vs. San Diego (9)

Averages:

Leake (50)
Cueto (44)
Arroyo (43)
Harang (36)
Bailey (36)

Spring~Fields
04-24-2010, 11:27 PM
The problem is that it's early.

Arroyo has had one bad game, one really bad game. Bailey has had one bad start, two meh starts. Cueto has had three decent, but short starts, Leake has had three good starts, and Harang has been terrible.

So take out Harang and there really has only been two bad starts. The big problem is that there really hasn't been any great starts, which mentally and statistically makes everything seem worse.

If this continues, then it will be a long season. But do you really think that every Reds pitcher will pitch the entire season without a nice run of good to great games. I think all of them, including Harang are very capable of that this season.

Will they? :dunno:

I keep thinking that the pitching will come around. Surely it will. They'll get it ironed out. I hope.

traderumor
04-28-2010, 05:18 PM
Ok, now I'm blaming Bryan Price:


Aaron Harang said it was all about challenging hitters.

“I was able to get ahead,” he said. “That inside corner was working for me . . . I talked to (pitching coach Bryan Price) about being aggressive, instead of picking around the zone. He said: Go out and be the old you.”
http://cincinnati.com/blogs/reds/2010/04/27/harang-says-being-aggressive-was-the-key/

So, if Price is behind this nibbling we've been seeing, I hate him. Nibbling is for guys who do not have stuff, who cannot challenge hitters. The Reds have a rotation full of guys with stuff who can go after hitters, and have been successful doing so.

So, there is the smoking gun cryptic message I was looking for. If that is what he is all about, he could pack his bags yesterday.

Brutus
04-28-2010, 07:09 PM
Ok, now I'm blaming Bryan Price:


http://cincinnati.com/blogs/reds/2010/04/27/harang-says-being-aggressive-was-the-key/

So, if Price is behind this nibbling we've been seeing, I hate him. Nibbling is for guys who do not have stuff, who cannot challenge hitters. The Reds have a rotation full of guys with stuff who can go after hitters, and have been successful doing so.

So, there is the smoking gun cryptic message I was looking for. If that is what he is all about, he could pack his bags yesterday.

First, I think it's awfully shortsighted to make a snap judgment based on one snippet. But from that little quote, I got the impression that Price was telling him to go after hitters not go after corners.

Spring~Fields
04-28-2010, 07:21 PM
I inferred that TR is just suggesting that there might be an indicator to a possible changing in philosophy on pitching theory, that might need an adjustment if there had been.

As an aside question. Who call’s the pitches for the Reds, and how is it decided what pitches are thrown? Is it from advanced scouting and who interprets that report to decide what pitches are called to be thrown?

traderumor
04-29-2010, 08:36 AM
First, I think it's awfully shortsighted to make a snap judgment based on one snippet. But from that little quote, I got the impression that Price was telling him to go after hitters not go after corners.Seeing as I'm not in a decision making capacity here and reading into cryptic messages, I'm not real worried about the impact of my "snap judgment." But then, I see that snippet as clear evidence for the theory I have been pondering, so it isn't like I hadn't been giving thought to the very area he touched. Harang's inference is that he went to his pitching coach and was seemingly asking permission to use a more aggressive approach. That implies to me that Price had been instructing his pitchers to "work around the zone, stay just off the plate, tantalizingly close, so the hitters won't chase and center the ball." That is exactly what we have been seeing night after night. Ball one, just a bit outside, Ball two, just a bit low, there's a strike "Boom!" Hopefully Price quickly realizes that is a recipe for disaster, that he has three power pitchers in his rotation, an aggressive junkballer, and a kid with lots of movement who likes to go right after hitters. Then maybe he'll realize that his closer has a penchant for nibbling and gets hurt when he does, but can blow guys away when he goes right after guys.

Yep, snap judgment, you're right, have given this subject little thought and haven't been reading what Price and the pitching staff is up to at all.

Brutus
04-29-2010, 12:47 PM
Seeing as I'm not in a decision making capacity here and reading into cryptic messages, I'm not real worried about the impact of my "snap judgment." But then, I see that snippet as clear evidence for the theory I have been pondering, so it isn't like I hadn't been giving thought to the very area he touched. Harang's inference is that he went to his pitching coach and was seemingly asking permission to use a more aggressive approach. That implies to me that Price had been instructing his pitchers to "work around the zone, stay just off the plate, tantalizingly close, so the hitters won't chase and center the ball." That is exactly what we have been seeing night after night. Ball one, just a bit outside, Ball two, just a bit low, there's a strike "Boom!" Hopefully Price quickly realizes that is a recipe for disaster, that he has three power pitchers in his rotation, an aggressive junkballer, and a kid with lots of movement who likes to go right after hitters. Then maybe he'll realize that his closer has a penchant for nibbling and gets hurt when he does, but can blow guys away when he goes right after guys.

Yep, snap judgment, you're right, have given this subject little thought and haven't been reading what Price and the pitching staff is up to at all.

I'm not saying you have or haven't thought about it or that you are right or wrong.

But you said, "So, there is the smoking gun cryptic message I was looking for. If that is what he is all about, he could pack his bags yesterday."

Something about a cryptic message being a smoking gun that doesn't jibe. By nature, I think calling a cryptic message the smoking gun is still a snap judgment, even having preconceived beliefs on the matter. It's still not a definitive statement, especially since not everyone even interprets the comments the same way.

I don't see Harang going to Price about changing his philosophy as seeking permission. I see it as a sign of respect that he would ask Price's opinion on something.

To be perfectly honest, even if his philosophy is correct, you have to be able to work the corners in this league if you want to make it. You can't work the middle of the plate unless you have a fastball you can blow by people, a ton of movement on all your pitches or are very, very good at changing speeds and eye levels. Even then, you still have to start from the corners in - otherwise you're not going to have very good results.

I agree you can't get behind in the count. Where I disagree is that it means you need to automatically go right after every hitter on the first pitch. It really depends on the hitter.

traderumor
04-29-2010, 01:15 PM
I'm not saying you have or haven't thought about it or that you are right or wrong.

But you said, "So, there is the smoking gun cryptic message I was looking for. If that is what he is all about, he could pack his bags yesterday."

Something about a cryptic message being a smoking gun that doesn't jibe. By nature, I think calling a cryptic message the smoking gun is still a snap judgment, even having preconceived beliefs on the matter. It's still not a definitive statement, especially since not everyone even interprets the comments the same way.

I don't see Harang going to Price about changing his philosophy as seeking permission. I see it as a sign of respect that he would ask Price's opinion on something.

To be perfectly honest, even if his philosophy is correct, you have to be able to work the corners in this league if you want to make it. You can't work the middle of the plate unless you have a fastball you can blow by people, a ton of movement on all your pitches or are very, very good at changing speeds and eye levels. Even then, you still have to start from the corners in - otherwise you're not going to have very good results.

I agree you can't get behind in the count. Where I disagree is that it means you need to automatically go right after every hitter on the first pitch. It really depends on the hitter.A smoking gun is a smoking gun, whether its cryptic or not. It's my interpretation of the snippet. It puts me on notice right away where the source of some of the struggles may be. Obviously, for what its worth. I'm not running to WJ just yet.....yet ;)

However, I do not see where I stated "agressive" means "automatically go right after every hitter on the first pitch." For clarification, an aggressive pitcher to me is one who attacks the zone with quality strikes throughout an at-bat. Of course, that is a generality and there will be multiple factors when taking the foot off the pedal is the right strategy, such as game situation, opponent tendencies, and the quality of the pitcher's stuff on any given day.

forfreelin04
04-29-2010, 01:28 PM
Ok, now I'm blaming Bryan Price:


http://cincinnati.com/blogs/reds/2010/04/27/harang-says-being-aggressive-was-the-key/

So, if Price is behind this nibbling we've been seeing, I hate him. Nibbling is for guys who do not have stuff, who cannot challenge hitters. The Reds have a rotation full of guys with stuff who can go after hitters, and have been successful doing so.

So, there is the smoking gun cryptic message I was looking for. If that is what he is all about, he could pack his bags yesterday.

I listened to this interview live and Harang sounded like he gave credit to Price for getting him to pitch inside. Funny how I took that quote the exact opposite way you did.

IMO, Harang was the one that was in favor of nibbling outside. A key moment occured in that game that provided further evidence of Harang being the culprit and not Price. In an important at bat against Berkman, with runners on, Hanigan called for a pitch inside. Harang started to shake him off and Hanigan slapped his mitt in the dirt and called for it anyways. Harang threw a perfect pitch inside. Berkman layed off of it, but Harang eventually struck him out. (I believe)

I think your reading too much into this. If anything, I think Price is starting to assert himself in the rotation. It takes awhile for a coach to earn his chops when he's new. Sometimes there is also competition from other coaches who may think they know more. (Bullpen coach, bench coach, manage) They may all have the same goal: winning baseball, but there is politics just like in any business.

In the past week, I've seen improvement from everyone but Arroyo.

Brutus
04-29-2010, 01:47 PM
A smoking gun is a smoking gun, whether its cryptic or not. It's my interpretation of the snippet. It puts me on notice right away where the source of some of the struggles may be. Obviously, for what its worth. I'm not running to WJ just yet.....yet ;)

However, I do not see where I stated "agressive" means "automatically go right after every hitter on the first pitch." For clarification, an aggressive pitcher to me is one who attacks the zone with quality strikes throughout an at-bat. Of course, that is a generality and there will be multiple factors when taking the foot off the pedal is the right strategy, such as game situation, opponent tendencies, and the quality of the pitcher's stuff on any given day.


If I understand your post, you refer to Harang as a power pitcher. Is that correct? If so, that's partially a fundamental disagreement as I'm not quite sure I classify him as that. He's kind of a hybrid.

Power pitchers rely, typically, first on a fastball that they can routinely throw by hitters. Harang has a good vertical plane on his fastball, which does help miss bats, but his fastball speed for his career has been pretty consistently an average of 90 MPH according to fangraphs. This year, he's not even in the top 50 of qualified pitchers in the majors in average speed - and he's having a normal year.

Where Harang excels is not the ability throw a pitch by based on speed, but mixing up his fastball and disguising his slider.

By the way, I actually agree with you about that being Price's approach. I do believe it is. I personally have nothing wrong with it, and I don't think that statement tells us too awful much, but I fully believe that's his coaching philosophy.

traderumor
04-29-2010, 02:22 PM
I listened to this interview live and Harang sounded like he gave credit to Price for getting him to pitch inside. Funny how I took that quote the exact opposite way you did.

IMO, Harang was the one that was in favor of nibbling outside. A key moment occured in that game that provided further evidence of Harang being the culprit and not Price. In an important at bat against Berkman, with runners on, Hanigan called for a pitch inside. Harang started to shake him off and Hanigan slapped his mitt in the dirt and called for it anyways. Harang threw a perfect pitch inside. Berkman layed off of it, but Harang eventually struck him out. (I believe)

I think your reading too much into this. If anything, I think Price is starting to assert himself in the rotation. It takes awhile for a coach to earn his chops when he's new. Sometimes there is also competition from other coaches who may think they know more. (Bullpen coach, bench coach, manage) They may all have the same goal: winning baseball, but there is politics just like in any business.

In the past week, I've seen improvement from everyone but Arroyo.
That interpretation does not square up with "I talked to Bryan Price about being agressive instead of picking around the zone...he said go out and be the old you." In other words, forget what I've been telling you, go do what you do. That's my take. BTW, Harang has always been aggressive in the zone and went right after hitters, thus a change in that behavior looks for a change in voices.

traderumor
04-29-2010, 02:25 PM
If I understand your post, you refer to Harang as a power pitcher. Is that correct? If so, that's partially a fundamental disagreement as I'm not quite sure I classify him as that. He's kind of a hybrid.

Power pitchers rely, typically, first on a fastball that they can routinely throw by hitters. Harang has a good vertical plane on his fastball, which does help miss bats, but his fastball speed for his career has been pretty consistently an average of 90 MPH according to fangraphs. This year, he's not even in the top 50 of qualified pitchers in the majors in average speed - and he's having a normal year.

Where Harang excels is not the ability throw a pitch by based on speed, but mixing up his fastball and disguising his slider.

By the way, I actually agree with you about that being Price's approach. I do believe it is. I personally have nothing wrong with it, and I don't think that statement tells us too awful much, but I fully believe that's his coaching philosophy.Harang is a power pitcher. Predominantly fastball/ hard slider, works in the low 90s. I think calling him a "hybrid" is some hair splitting.

TheNext44
04-29-2010, 02:35 PM
That interpretation does not square up with "I talked to Bryan Price about being agressive instead of picking around the zone...he said go out and be the old you." In other words, forget what I've been telling you, go do what you do. That's my take. BTW, Harang has always been aggressive in the zone and went right after hitters, thus a change in that behavior looks for a change in voices.

It can be interpreted either way.

Considering that I have never heard of a pitching coach in the history of baseball ever tell to a pitcher to "nibble" or to "pick around the zone", I would have to say that it meant that Price approached Harang and told him that he noticed that Harang was nibbling, then told him to stop nibbling and be aggressive.

And pitchers move away from what works best for them all the time, sometimes without even noticing it, which is why teams have pitching coaches.

forfreelin04
04-29-2010, 02:40 PM
That interpretation does not square up with "I talked to Bryan Price about being agressive instead of picking around the zone...he said go out and be the old you." In other words, forget what I've been telling you, go do what you do. That's my take. BTW, Harang has always been aggressive in the zone and went right after hitters, thus a change in that behavior looks for a change in voices.

I agree with Next. I think its extremely confusing the way you interpreted it.

The old Aaron Harang didn't nibble. Plus, nobody would suggest nibbling like Next stated.

Also, "by talking" to Price, Harang probably meant "he told me."

Brutus
04-29-2010, 03:46 PM
Harang is a power pitcher. Predominantly fastball/ hard slider, works in the low 90s. I think calling him a "hybrid" is some hair splitting.

The data says he averages, for his career, essentially a 90 MPH fastball. I don't know about you, but when I think of power pitcher, I think of guys throwing 95, 96, etc.

traderumor
04-29-2010, 04:10 PM
It can be interpreted either way.

Considering that I have never heard of a pitching coach in the history of baseball ever tell to a pitcher to "nibble" or to "pick around the zone", I would have to say that it meant that Price approached Harang and told him that he noticed that Harang was nibbling, then told him to stop nibbling and be aggressive.

And pitchers move away from what works best for them all the time, sometimes without even noticing it, which is why teams have pitching coaches.Yet the entire staff was exhibiting the same behavior. My theory is that he has been telling them to work the fringes of the zone, and if it is just out of the zone but tantalizing for the hitter to swing at, all the better (basically the Glavine/Maddux school of pitching).

That is certainly an approach that has been a part of the game forever, one I would only use if my pitchers stunk, or for guys with excellent control, and all the umpires have Eric Gregg strike zones. Since that is not the context, I hope he scraps that IF (and I realize that is IF) that is a basic philosophy that he has been promoting.

traderumor
04-29-2010, 04:15 PM
The data says he averages, for his career, essentially a 90 MPH fastball. I don't know about you, but when I think of power pitcher, I think of guys throwing 95, 96, etc.Um, no. Harang can hit 93, 94, works around 90 as the numbers prove. Bailey mostly works 92-94. Is he not a power pitcher? We obviously define power pitcher differently, but I don't define that strictly on fastball speed. It is more about technique and approach than whether they are hitting 95+ on each four- seam fastball.

For example, I would call a 92 MPH heavy sinker and hard slider pitcher a power pitcher.

RedsManRick
04-29-2010, 04:17 PM
Ok, now I'm blaming Bryan Price:


http://cincinnati.com/blogs/reds/2010/04/27/harang-says-being-aggressive-was-the-key/

So, if Price is behind this nibbling we've been seeing, I hate him. Nibbling is for guys who do not have stuff, who cannot challenge hitters. The Reds have a rotation full of guys with stuff who can go after hitters, and have been successful doing so.

So, there is the smoking gun cryptic message I was looking for. If that is what he is all about, he could pack his bags yesterday.

Nibbling will get Tom Glavine to the HOF. There's a difference between pounding the outside 1/4 of the plate trying to be absolutely perfect. I interpreted Harang's comments to be more of the "trust your stuff" and not "pitching around contact" variety.

traderumor
04-29-2010, 04:27 PM
Nibbling will get Tom Glavine to the HOF. Exceptional control and the never to be settled strike zone debate. Not a fan of using the exception to prove the rule.

RedsManRick
04-29-2010, 04:41 PM
Exceptional control and the never to be settled strike zone debate. Not a fan of using the exception to prove the rule.

Fair -- my larger point was about the definition of nibbling. Nibbling is hoping the hitter screws up instead of making your best pitch.

traderumor
04-29-2010, 04:54 PM
Fair -- my larger point was about the definition of nibbling. Nibbling is hoping the hitter screws up instead of making your best pitch.I am unashamedly anti-nibblite :)

forfreelin04
04-29-2010, 05:10 PM
I am unashamedly anti-nibblite :)

Well done sir..... well done.

WebScorpion
04-30-2010, 02:03 PM
[QUOTE=forfreelin04;2068128]I agree with Next. I think its extremely confusing the way you interpreted it.

The old Aaron Harang didn't nibble. Plus, nobody would suggest nibbling like Next stated.
[QUOTE]

Me too. I thought he meant circa 2006-2007 Harang by "the old you", not the guy who pitched last year. 2006-2007 Harang pitched aggressively...I seem to recall he worked faster too, which is also an aggressive trait. It all ties into his confidence IMO. Two seasons like his recent works will do that to a pitcher. I think he'll get it back...if our guys could get a few hits off Carpenter Sunday, it might go a long way to righting Harang's 2010 season. :beerme:

TheNext44
04-30-2010, 03:31 PM
I am unashamedly anti-nibblite :)

Not sure what Nibblet did to make you hate him so much?

http://www.southparkstuff.com/images/stories/epiimgs/epi312/312_niblet.gif